Notebook: A/C girls hold off Blaine, crack top-20

They needed to sweat out a few more anxious moments that they were perhaps anticipating, but the Armstrong/Cooper girls hockey team wasn’t complaining when it was over.

The girls held off a late Blaine rally to defeat the Bengals 4-3 Dec. 18.

Marissa Odell scored twice and set up two others, Emma Terres added a goal and an assist, and Mari Verbeten also scored as Armstrong/Cooper improved to 10-4.

Odell got the scoring started with a short-handed goal midway through the first. Blaine would come back to even the game at 1-1 late in the first period, but Armstrong/Cooper responded with goals from Terres and Odell in the second to open up a 3-1 lead.

Verbeten then made it 4-1 7:36 into the first, before Blaine scored twice in a 55-second span late in the period to make it a game for the final 2:26.

Ashley Ritten finished with 22 saves in a victory that moved her team into the top-20 of Lets Play Hockey’s Class AA state rankings.

Armstrong/Cooper was ranked 18th when the poll was released the day after the girls victory over Blaine, and marks the first time in the two-year old co-op’s existence the girls have been ranked.

Pirates top 4A rankings

After taking out their second top-ranked opponent in three weeks, the Park Center boys basketball team moved into the top spot in the Class 4A state rankings.

The Pirates (8-0) were ranked second heading into their Dec. 18 showdown with No. 1 Osseo, but after handing the Orioles their first defeat of the winter in a 73-62 home win last Tuesday, Park Center moved to No. 1.

Quinton Hooker had a game-high 34 points in the victory, and Devin Buckley added 21 as the Pirates remained undefeated.

Vaughn goes for 51

The victory went to Maranatha Christian Academy, but the show certainly belonged to Robbinsdale Cooper junior Rashad Vaughn.

Vaughn scored a career-high 51 points in the Hawks 95-93 overtime loss to Maranatha Dec. 18.

Maranatha’s Isaiah Hanson also had a big night. Hanson hit a three to tie the game at the very end of regulation, and scored the first six points of overtime on his way to a 41-point night.

PC wrestlers win

A pair of Park Center wrestlers won medalist honors at the Maple Grove Invitational.

Julius Ogunti was the 195-pound champion, and Rico Lester was the first place finisher in the 170-pound weight class.

In addition, Park Center’s Tony Mazzuchella placed fourth at 152-pounds, and Melvin Wilson finished fifth at 120-pounds.

Hansen gets OT winner

They had the shots, 59 of them to be exact. All Armstrong needed was one more to go.

And just over a minute into overtime, Ben Hansen delivered it, lifting the Armstrong boys hockey team to a 3-2 victory over Coon Rapids Dec. 18

Hansen’s goal, which came on the Falcons 60th shot of the game, came on the power play and was set up by Brady Johnson.

Cory Gilbert and Cole Goergen also scored goals for Armstrong in the win, which handed the Falcons their first Northwest Suburban Conference victory to date.

Armstrong had previously lost in overtime against Osseo Dec. 13, before skating a 1-1 tie with Anoka Dec. 15.

Delaney medals in Nordic

Junior John Delaney earned medalist honors in the Armstrong boys Nordic ski teams season debut Dec. 19.

Delaney finished the 8-kilomter layout at Elm Creek Park Reserve with a time of 18 minutes, 53 second to win in a field that consisted of skiers from Osseo, Andover, Park Center and Champlin Park.

As a team, the Falcons placed third with a score of 453. Osseo and Andover finished in a tie for first with a score of 456 each.

On the girls side, Armstrong placed second after totaling 462.5 points. Osseo won the event with a score of 456.

Osseo’s Kaley Shagen was the medalist in the girls race. She finished with a time of 21:20.